Thursday, September 2, 2010

Marketing 101

We went furniture shopping last weekend. I hate furniture shopping. I pretty much hate any shopping but furniture is the worst. The sales people hang around the entrance to the store clutching their clipboards and looking hungrily at anyone who enters. I hear them whisper "This one's yours, Joe." One store I went into literally had a dry erase board where all could see where they kept track of which sales person the next shopper belonged to. Tacky, tacky.

I make my living on sales commissions, too, but I don't pounce on people like a cheetah on an impala as they walk through the door of an open house. I might walk along with them but I don't keep a running babble pointing out the obvious. "This is a closet." "Really? I just thought they forgot to put the sink and toilet in there." Seriously, I've seen realtors who do that.

When we walked in Sunday there was a 'concierge' at a desk at the door. "Can I help you? What are you looking for today?" Reluctantly, because I know this means they will assign a haunt to us, I said living room furniture. "Leather or fabric?" To which I replied "Yes." He looked a bit confused. Honestly we don't know whether we want leather or fabric or a combination of the two. So my answer was truthful. I kept walking as he pointed in the directions where we could find living room furniture.

As we walked through, there were sales people strategically placed in different sections and each one piped up with some question as we walked along. I hate when sales people butt into our conversation as Paul and I are talking and walking along pointing out different things to each other. Quit asking me what I'm looking for. I don't know what I'm looking for! That's what browsing means.

Unless you want to be downright rude, it's pretty hard to avoid these people. I want to say "If I have a question, I'll find you." I know they work on commission and if someone that I don't find totally obnoxious begins helping us, I will be sure to find that person if I have questions and I'll tell them that.

Have you noticed the phrase they now have in sales (especially with furniture) called an "up charge?" One woman kept referring to an "up charge" as I asked about different fabrics and grades of leather. Paul had no idea what she was referring to. I had already turned the price tag over, which was huge, not so much to be visible across the store but to include all the"up charges."

As she kept saying things like "there's a $150 up charge for this" "a $250 up charge for that," and I could see he wasn't following her, I said "depending on what you choose, there's an up charge from $50 to $450 per piece." "You mean an extra charge? So why don't they call it that?"

I bet the marketing genius who came up with the "up charge" one day as they all sat around the table brainstorming got a big bonus. Or maybe an "up charge" in his pay.

Note: My apologies to sales people who may be offended. I make my living in sales, too, but you don't need to act this way to be good at your job and successful. These sales tactics only aggravate our customers.


~Kristen~ said...

Amen!!! I loathe going in to many stores for exactly this reason. Both of my parents are in sales, too, and they are very good at their jobs without being obnoxious. I realize that to some degree retail sales are a bit different than the type of sales your or my parents do but still. If I tell a salesperson in a store I just need time to browse on my own then respect that. That is all I ask.

I don't know how you all deal with sales. I definitely didn't get that gene from either of my parents. I tell them I would rather gouge my eyes out than do a sales job! :-)

Turquoise Diaries said...

There are times when I left the store because of sales person like you describe. I dont know why they dont teach you to follow from a respectable distance and be around when you need to ask a question..

Debby said...

I do not like to be bothered when I shop. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

Pam said...

This does seem to be the modus operandi in furniture stores for some reason. Now for the most important question. Did you find something you liked?

croneandbearit said...

Oh my word sweetie - this soooo reminds me of my recent foray into the furniture store - it took hours to pick out just the right pieces and THEN going through the fabric was torture -- Devoted Spouse was such a trooper - especially since I had eaten FiberOne cereal that morning and it was a little uncomfortable, hee hee hee....

Debbie said...

Oh Sandy, I am with you on this. That is why I am sitting in a chair right now that sinks about 8 inches lower than it should. I detest furniture shopping.
So, did you buy anything?

Jeanie said...

I'm not offended. I am so on your side with this. It makes me want to order things from catalogues -- I won't get the pleasure of checking them out before, but at least I won't have to deal with the salespeople. Debbie, above, said she was sitting in a sinking chair. I have that problem with a couple of pieces at home, and I feel exactly the same way!


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